Richard Kahlenberg

 

Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, is author of All Together Now: Creating Middle-Class Schools through Public School Choice (Brookings Press, 2001) and the coauthor (with Halley Potter) of A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education (Teachers College Press, 2014).

Recent Articles

Back to Class

The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial by Susan Eaton (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 357 pages, $24.95) The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathan Kozol (Crown, 404 pages, $25.00) The Charter School Dust-Up: Examining the Evidence on Enrollment and Achievement by Martin Carnoy, Rebecca Jacobsen, Lawrence Mishel, and Richard Rothstein (Economic Policy Institute/Teachers College Press, 186 pages, $16.95) The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. (Houghton Mifflin, 169 pages, $22.00) This year the U.S. supreme court will rule in high-profile cases challenging voluntary racial school integration programs in Seattle and Louisville. The Court may very well ban or restrict these programs, which would be unfortunate. But such a decision could also spur liberals to new thinking on integration and education reform that could be very productive. Ever since the wars over...

Schools of Hard Knocks

The fights over education -- school vouchers, the No Child Left Behind Act, affirmative action, and access to higher education -- resonate deeply with people because they are literally fights over the American dream. Americans used to be able to move up economically with a high-school degree and a blue-collar, unionized job, and their kids could enjoy decent public schools. Now, however, those who have little education are also likely to have little income, forcing them to live in neighborhoods where their children attend inferior schools. Moreover, with skyrocketing college tuitions and federal financial-aid policies tilted toward education tax breaks for more affluent families, even academically prepared low-income and working-class students are having a hard time pursuing a college degree. For all his talk about "compassionate conservatism," George W. Bush has shortchanged working families and their children. Yet clearly these children need a good education -- now more than ever...

Good Schools, Good Citizens

Making Good Citizens: Education and Civil Society Edited by Diane Ravitch and Joseph P. Viteritti. Yale University Press, 358 pages, $35.00 T he contentious debate over whether public funds should support private schools revolves around a central paradox: Most Americans believe that private schools do a somewhat better job of promoting academic achievement than public schools, but most Americans nevertheless like the idea of public education, as a means of improving democracy, social cohesion, and national unity. With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to rule later this year on the constitutionality of a program in Cleveland, Ohio, that uses vouchers to make government funds available to private-school students, and with the Bush administration proposing tuition tax credits in its new budget, advocates of "privatizing" education are now turning their attention to the first principle of how education can and should serve democracy. Diane Ravitch and Joseph P. Viteritti, professors at New...

Radical in the Center

The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics By Ted Halstead and Michael Lind. Doubleday, 272 pages, $24.95 The Next Agenda: Blueprint for a New Progressive Movement Edited by Robert L. Borosage and Roger Hickey. Westview, 386 pages, $18.00 How the Left Can Win Arguments and Influence People: A Tactical Manual for Pragmatic Progressives By John K. Wilson. New York University Press, 252 pages, $15.95 A Visionary Nation: Four Centuries of American Dreams and What Lies Ahead By Zachary Karabell. HarperCollins, 246 pages, $26.00 I n the conventional wisdom, patriotism in American politics is thought to be a conservative impulse while the desire for strong, activist government is associated with liberals. But think of all those blue-collar heroes who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September: the firefighters, police officers, and construction workers who led rescue and recovery efforts. Where do they fit in politically? Perhaps in what some...

Labor Organizing as a Civil Right

H ere is a Labor Day idea. Why not make the right to join a union a basic civil right? In theory the Wagner Act gives workers the right to freely vote in a union, but in practice the price to employers for violating the law is small. Employers who retaliate by firing workers are subject to orders to reinstate them and provide back pay. But this enforcement process takes time. According to National Labor Relations Board data for fiscal year 1998, the average back-pay award against employers for unfair labor practices was $32,509, and the median time between the filing of charges and issuance of a board decision was 658 days. A small number of firings is often enough to intimidate other workers and break a unionization drive. Employers know that wages of unionized workers are on average one-third higher than those of nonunionized workers, so they have a strong financial incentive to try to stop an organizing campaign by picking off a few ringleaders and...

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